demons

aspects of myself
remaining hidden for no
good reason at all
except that I cannot risk
entering the black darkness

It must be a couple of years now, since I re-read Dostoevsky’s novel The Devils.  It had been the 3rd Dostoevksy novel I ever read, back in 1987, and, unlike the first two, I’d found it quite inaccessible at that time. So I’d always wanted to revisit it, and happily now in my late fifties, I discovered a new translation which made all the difference. The translator was Robert Maguire and he translated the title as Demons rather than The Devils. My poem this morning is a very organic creation which for me has a quality of inevitability — I could almost believe the title was waiting for me at the end having already been decided without my knowledge. It arose from a dream in which a young man in his early twenties, who apparently belonged to some esoteric sect, was indicating in a decisive manner that I would not be granted access to the Mysteries (whatever they were: in the poem, I have interpreted them as representing the fact that I am a mystery to myself). In the dream, faced with this rebuff, I was behaving very mildly and humbly, and letting go quite successfully of my own spiritual ambition. I wonder now whether this might relate to a project I have on the go at the moment, of writing a talk to be delivered to one of the Hearing Voices Groups in London, on the subject of Spirituality and Mental Health. It’s a very exciting subject and I have found it difficult to approach without getting tangled up in my own spiritual pretensions. The temptation seems to be to use it as an opportunity to prove or demonstrate my own spirituality. Nice that the dream depicts me in a humbler frame of mind.

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